Dig for Fossils in Aurora, North Carolina
Big kids and little kids like to dig in the dirt. When I was growing up on the farm here in eastern North Carolina, if we dug deep enough we could find a fossil. It was so exciting to get those remnants from the past and to know that right where we were digging was once under water. Click to read more about Fossils and the Fossil Museum in Aurora, NC
One of the great things about late summer is that we have luscious figs. And when they ripen, they all ripen.
Click to read ways to use Figs
Luscious Candied Figs are Fit for a King
One of the great things about late summer is that we have luscious figs. And when they ripen, they all ripen. Candy some of them to preserve them.
Prep Time1 hr
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time6 d 2 hrs
Servings: 24 servings
- 2 cups sugar + optional 4-5 Tablespoons
- 2 cups water
- ½ gallon ripe figs-small figs like Brown Turkey work best. Use figs that have stems
Add the sugar and water to a large cooking pot. Boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Wash figs, do not remove stems.
Add the figs to the sugar syrup – figs will not be totally covered. Bring to a slow boil and boil gently for 45 minutes. Don’t worry about stirring the figs. They will release more juice and then there will be more liquid. They are so fragile it is best not to stir them now, but do keep an eye on them. After 45 minutes remove pot from heat and set aside. Cover pot.
If you feel you must stir the pot, use a wide spatula and gently lift the figs. Remember they are fragile.
Day 2 & 3:
Boil gently until sugar is almost gone, checking often. For me this took several hours so I set the temperature on low.
Gently remove the figs from the pot and place them on the cooling rack set on a large cookie sheet with sides. The figs will drip.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Turn off oven. Place the cooling rack and cookie sheet with the figs in the warm oven. Leave figs for several days to dry. You can keep heating oven again to 200 degrees if needed. I did not dry my figs totally. They are so tough if you do that. I think I like them half dry.
Optional: When figs are dry enough for you, sprinkle them with the extra granulated sugar. They are already sweet but this keeps them from sticking together so much. Store figs in refrigerator in an air-tight container or zip lock bag.
Calories: 123kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 183mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 110IU | Vitamin C: 1.6mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Every summer I grow Basil and it thrives here in eastern North Carolina.What can you do with all this basil? Well, I make Pesto and freeze it to enjoy all year.
Fresh Basil from Chloe’s Cook’s Garden
Pesto will keep a long time in the freezer. It can be frozen in ice cube trays — handy if you only need a small amount of pesto.
Basil is also easily rooted if you want to try to keep a pot inside over the winter. I just put a stem in a glass of water, then plant in soil once it shows roots. Click to get Chloe’s Pesto Genovese Recipe
Did you know that some flowers can be lunch?
Edible Flowers are all around you
I grabbed my Edible Flower book and wandered around the yard, tasting. I eat whatever is in the yard that I KNOW is edible, including pecans, blackberries, mulberries, blueberries, tomatoes, wild cherries, figs and cucumbers.
Now I have added Edible Flowers to my “Okay to eat” list. I don’t use these flowers as a main course – they are too pretty blooming in the yard! I pick them as garnish and they add a special pop to any dish. Click to see what edible flowers grow all around you.
No matter what you think about bears, when someone says, “I saw a bear,” you listen.
Bears in North Carolina are usually black with a cinnamon color muzzle
Increasingly, we are beginning to see bears here in eastern North Carolina. They are mostly in the mountains and coastal regions – bears love our coastal pocosin habitat.
In one of the articles I read, eastern North Carolina was said to have the highest Black Bear population of all the states. A 500-pound bear is not at all uncommon and bear biologist, Colleen Olfenbuttel, confirmed that they are seeing “an increased frequency of 700+ pound bears.”
Click to read more about Black Bears and the Black Bear Festival in eastern NC
When I was growing up we had mules: Big Red, Little Red, Rock, Kit and Mary. There were other mules before my time, but I don’t remember their names.
The living room in the Mule Room Suite has great views of the lakes
We have spiffed up our mule Mary’s quarters and we call her home the Mule Room Suite. Much discussion went into what to call it. A good friend wanted me to call it a shed, but on this farm sheds only have 3 sides. Click to read more about the Mule Room — past and present …
The Hen and The Hog Restaurant in Halifax, NC, is a wonderful surprise.
I love to explore local gems and this one is perfect. The restaurant is located in an old hardware store and the old floors remain – no trendy marble tiles here. But don’t be fooled – this is an upscale place; it just retains its local character. Read more about Hen & Hog
Hot, Spicy Apple Cider Warms the Heart
A great way to welcome fall and the chill in the air is to make up some hot, spicy cider. If you live where apples are grown, then you can use fresh-pressed cider.
The rest of us can pick up some great cider in the store and create our own brewing spices. North Carolina apples are the best – I see a road trip coming! Click to read more about Chloe’s Mulled Apple Cider recipe!
The most easterly Barn Quilt on North Carolina’s Quilt Trail is on the Pack House barn at Big Mill B&B in Williamston, NC. I just love it!
Barn Quilt in eastern NC at Big Mill B&B in Williamston
I used to go to Quilting Bees with my mother when I was a child. I would play under the quilt all by myself. There were no other children.
The ladies made such beautiful works of art. Mother would sew the pieces of fabric together and let me help. When it was all pieced together, we put it in the frame along with the backing and the batting. Then Mother’s friends would come for several days until the quilt was quilted. My father used to make cotton and wool batts for his mother to quilt. I wish I had gotten him to show me how.
In 1976, everyone had caught Bicentennial Fever and felt patriotic so Mother (also named Chloe) made a quilt of red, white and blue. Click to read more about Barn Quilts and Miss Chloe’s LaMoyne Star …
Figs are so special – they are a real delicacy.
Fig Jam with Less Sugar
Fig Jam is oh so southern and such a treat! This fig jam recipe actually uses less sugar than you’ll typically find, so that is good for every body.
Servings: 42 servings
- 2 1/4 pounds ripe figs* 4 cups prepared figs
- 5 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 lemon
- Zest from one lemon
- 1 Tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon butter
- 1/2 pouch liquid pectin 1 ½ ounces use Certo NOT Ball)
Sterilize the jars - you can do this in a dishwasher. Place jar lids in a metal bowl or pot and pour boiling water over them. Set aside.
Start heating the water in the canner.
Wash and drain the figs, handling very carefully. Remove the stem end from each fig and cut them in half. Mash the figs- I use a potato masher. You will need 4 cups of mashed figs.
Measure 6 cups of sugar into a large mixing bowl. Wash the lemons and grate the peel from two of the lemons. You need about 2 Tablespoons of zest.
Squeeze the lemons to get a ¼ cup juice. Remove any lemon seeds.
Check the expiration date on the pectin, making sure that it is not out of date.
Place figs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and butter in a large stainless steel cooking pot. Stir to combine the ingredients.
Bring this mixture to a rolling boil that cannot be stirred down, stirring often.
Add the liquid pectin and return to a boil that cannot be stirred down. Boil for exactly 1 minute, stirring often. I count, "one-one thousand, two-one thousand" until I reach sixty. Then remove from heat.
Ladle the jam into sterilized jars, wipe the tops to remove any jam. Place sterilized lids on the jars. Screw on the jar bands and hand tighten.
Process in a hot water bath for 5 minutes. Remove from the canner and place in a draft-free space. Do not move for 24 hours. Some of the jars will have sealed but others will continue to pop. I love that sound! If you see that a jar is not sealed, store this one in the refrigerator and eat it first.
After you eat the preserves, be sure to save the jars and rings, they can be reused. The flat lids can only be used once to seal a jar.
Yield: 6-7 half-pint jars plus some for tasting.
* You will have to buy the figs at a farmer's market, grow them or if you are lucky a friend will share. I have never seen figs that were affordable in the grocery store. The last ones I saw in a Florida grocery store were $5 for just a few figs. Plant a tree!
Calories: 121kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 63mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 35IU | Vitamin C: 3.5mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Click to get the Recipe for my Fig Jam with Less Sugar and some great photos too …